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Transcript of Alastair Reid
Expresses the fact that it's necessary for exploration
For people to question their lifestyles, roles in society and their values
Poem could also be taken as the social classes
Political standpoint Personal Background Born in Galloway, Scotland in 1926
Raised in a largely Calvinist society
Joined the navy- traveled to Spain
Returned home for short time
Married and in 1959 Jasper was born
Bought a house boat and sailed with his son
Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,
are changeable, marry too many wives,
desert their children, chill all dinner tables
with tales of their nine lives.
Well, they are lucky. Let them be
nine-lived and contradictory,
curious enough to change, prepared to pay
the cat price, which is to die
and die again and again,
each time with no less pain.
A cat minority of one
is all that can be counted on
to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell
on each return from hell
is this: that dying is what the living do,
that dying is what the loving do,
and that dead dogs are those who do not know
that dying is what, to live, each has to do. Litter- can mean a newborn kittens or waste.
endear- make beloved
prevails- become more common
Wagging of incurious heads and tails- wagging of finger in disapproval
Idyll- short poem about pleasant rural life
Licking Paws (4)
Leave Home (10)
doggey circles (11)
desert their children (29)
chill all dinner tables (29) may have killed the cat; more likely
the cat was just unlucky, or else curious
to see what death was like, having no cause
to go on licking paws, or fathering
litter on litter of kittens, predictably. Appeal to Emotions Compares cats and dogs
Uses familiar phrases
Poems meaning is easy to relate to, or feel for Nevertheless, to be curious
is dangerous enough. To distrust
what is always said, what seems,
to ask odd questions, interfere in dreams,
leave home, smell rats, have hunches
do not endear cats to those doggy circles
where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives, good lunches
are the order of things, and where prevails
much wagging of incurious heads and tails.
Face it. Curiosity
will not cause us to die-
only lack of it will.
Never to want to see
The other side of the hill
or that improbable country
where living is and idyll
(although a probable hell)
would kill us all.
Only the curious
have, if they live, a tale
worth telling at all. Works Cited
"Alastair Reid - Poetry Archive." Alastair Reid - Poetry Archive. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2012. <http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoet.do?poetId=11917>.
"Biography: Basic Notes on a Bohemian." N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2012.
"Curiosity by Alastair Reid." Curiosity by Alastair Reid. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2012. <http://areidcuriosity.blogspot.com/>.
"The Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies." N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2012.
"Scottish Poetry Library." Alastair Reid. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2012. <http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poets/alastair-reid>.